|To celebrate the fifth anniversary in India of online sales platform Amazon, its founder and top boss, Jeff Bezos, decided to give away cash-back as a thank you gesture, in their Amazon Pay wallets.|
What he subtly did was to raise more customers for the digital wallet and push the usage further.
Amazon aims to create a one-stop shopping solution for everything — groceries, fashion, automobile accessories, books, music, entertainment, etc. It has been working overtime to hinge all this on its digital wallet.
While in an online marketplace war with Flipkart, experts say it is getting ready to take on Alibaba and SoftBank Group, both of which have been rivals to the US-based tech giant, and also back Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s Paytm in India.
The company is fast getting into tie-ups with a host of retailers, restaurants, hotels and travel portals as part of a policy to increase its foothold in the digital money space. It believes it would get a host of repeat users, thanks to its online marketplace now being the most visited and downloaded app in the country, according to some independent studies.
“We are not focussing on a number of merchants but those used by customers regularly. A large part of the focus right now is to provide the best online digital experience. We are focused on areas such as food delivery, whether it is a Swiggy or Fresh Menu, Bookmyshow for ticketing, Yatra for travel. We are also working with portals such as Urban Ladder. There are at present more than 100 top merchants on the platform,” said Amazon Pay’s India head, Mahendra Nerurkar.
Sources close to the company say it has been working on a host of cash-back schemes on payment via Amazon Pay, to incentivise use of the wallet.
“They have one of the biggest online marketplaces. If they are even able to tap into just the number of people who are paying for the products they buy on the site, they would be able to bring in millions of daily users, doing millions of transactions. Add offline usage, as well as paying for services on other online platforms, and the number of transactions would skyrocket,” said a source.
Amazon recently invested close to $5 million (nearly Rs 350 mn) in digital payments company ToneTag. This will help in usage of its wallet offline. ToneTag uses soundwave technology to make payments and will help Amazon Pay get access to about 300,000 new merchants.
The company plans to extend credit services for people who do not have a credit card or do have a credit score. It has been working with a number of banks and non-bank financial corporations to come up with various solutions. Amit Agarwal, senior vice-president and country manager at Amazon India, had recently said they would provide credit to its millions of users and were already working in that direction.
Incidentally, taking a cue from Amazon India, its competition is also picking up a thing or two. One97 Communications that owns Paytm, now India’s largest payments company, offering multi-source and multi-destination payment solutions, has added a host of features to Inbox, its in-app messaging service that allows users to chat with friends and family, send and request money at the same time. Users would now be able to access in-app live television, news, cricket, entertainment videos and games on-the-go for free.